The Pied Piper
Episode 9 of Extraordinary Attorney Woo starts with a bunch of excited schoolkids about to head off on a trip. Only… there’s been a change of plans. A charismatic guy shows up, claiming to be the Commander-in-Chief for the Children’s Liberation Army.
His name is Bang Gu-Ppong or Mr Fart as the kids call him. He wats to recruit the kids to join the Children’s Liberation Army. With all of them onboard with Gu-Ppong’s antics, he drives off on an adventure.
Skip forward two days and Young-Woo is briefed by Jun-Ho over her latest case. The Director of Mujin Academy has spoken up about Gu-ppong’s abduction of these elementary kids and the defendant also happens to be the youngest son of said director. Gu-ppong ended up playing with the kids up at the mountain for 4 hours before being caught. This is the man Young-Woo needs to defend.
Young-Woo meets Gu-ppong and is taken aback by his flippant attitude to the charges against him. Before the judge, Young-Woo tries to coach Gu-ppong over how to address the court but he ignores all that and continues to pedal the notion that he’s the Commander-in-chief.
The only solution here appears to fall on a letter from the parents of those children confirming non-punishment. This is something made all the more pressing by a teary plea of help from Gu-ppong’s mother.
Interestingly, we see a little more from the moments involving Gu-ppong out in the wilderness on this trip with the kids. Gu-ppong pedals the message for children playing immediately and being happy, under the guise of defeating academies and schools from taking those things away from them.
As a side note, little Jung Si-Yul is one of the kids here, who has starred in less than NINE different dramas in 2 years. What a champ! Anyway, the point is, Gu-ppong simply decided to play with the kids and show them a good time; there was no malice in his actions.
Gu-ppong doesn’t want a shorter sentence either, he wants the children to be liberated. Unfortunately, that’s not something that’s easy to testify in court.
First up though is the bus driver, who points out that he was drugged and passed out for 4 hours. Gu-ppong nonchalantly agrees to all of this, stacking things up against Hanbada Law Firm in their defence. Not only that, but Myeong-Seok and the others have not been able to get a single letter of non-punishment from the parents thus far. So as a result, Young-Woo and Jun-Ho are on the case to track down the kids.
First up is Min-Ji, who’s one of the students at Mujin Academy. Given it’s 9pm, she’s working on her school work at a fast food restaurant and discusses the grueling conditions of the academy. The academy doesn’t even end until 10pm and at that point, the kids charge in and help themselves to instant food at the local convenience store. They also end up drinking a lot of caffeine too.
So as a result of this, Young-Woo decides they should change tact in court and go for an angle of abuse. With the Academy abusing these kids, forcing them into working long hours for their studies, she goes for the condition that the kids consented to leaving and Gu-ppong “liberated them”. That’s obviously not enough to fly with the judge or the parents, leaving them with the need to find something substantial to work with.
Gu-ppong’s mother ends up giving a heartfelt plea to the parents, begging them to sign the documents and prevent her son from being sent to jail. She also claims that her son is mentally ill and doesn’t know what he’s saying. After signing the documents, the lawyers leave but Young-Woo sticks around. She speaks plainly to Gu-ppong’s mother, admitting she doesn’t think this is true at all. She points out that Bang Gu-ppong doesn’t trust adults and they don’t believe in him, not to mention that the kids themselves genuinely want to be liberated.
In the courtroom, the idea of Gu-ppong being a megalomaniac is pedaled before the courtroom. Yong-Woo speaks up and mentions the locked classes. Basically, this means that the kids are kept inside all day long and forced to study.
Those at Mujin Academy are not allowed out until 10pm, nor are they given time to take breaks and eat, which we’ve heard about earlier in the episode of course. Not only that, but children who take more than 2 bathroom breaks in a day are also sent home. Despite all this, the academy is incredibly popular.
Now, this big reveal – not to mention sticking up for Gu-ppong and not making him suffer with mental delusions as the defence is pedaling – sees Young Woo point out that the man is guilty but only because he was seeking reformation against the existing draconian social system in place. Basically, she calls him a political offender and decides to defend the man’s ideology, even if it means a longer sentence. And Gu-ppong doesn’t exactly get off lightly.
Kwon Min-Woo jumps all over this during a recess, trying to convince Myeong-Seok to punish Young-Woo. He’s having none of it, even pointing out that he knows exactly who wrote those messages on the notice board too. This certainly causes Min-Woo to be taken aback, eventually told to settle his disputes with Young-Woo personally.
As for Young-Woo, throughout the episode we see her acting chivalrously toward Jun-Ho. She carries his belongings, helps him out and even opens car doors for him. When Jun-Ho questions her about it, Young-Woo admits that she likes him… and immediately bolts from view. It’s a really cute moment and one that leaves Jun-Ho surprised.
The next day, as per Gu-ppong’s wishes, he invites all the kids to head off to the court to hear the verdict. Gu-ppong gives a heartwarming message about how life is full of anxiety and playing as a child is a way of embracing that happiness before it’s too late. It’s a touching display, especially as Gu-ppong connects with the kids and they all embrace. Even Gu-ppong’s mother cracks a smile watching this play out.
After the court case, Jun-Ho races up to Hanbada and tells Young-Woo he likes her so much and it feels like he’s sick inside. As the pair stare at one another, Young-Woo is shocked and is unsure how to take the news.
During the epilogue, Tae Su-Mi shows up at Gwang-Ho’s restaurant, wanting to talk. Unfortunately, a photographer outside happens to be snapping their photos and seems to realize their connection. Uh oh!
The Episode Review
Extraordinary Attorney Woo continues to grow from strength to strength. This week’s episode is a simple case, one that brings up the stresses and gruelling ordeal of Korean academies and how hard these kids work to the bone. Sure, kidnapping children is completely deplorable but just to play devil’s advocate, Gu-ppong did actually ask their permission before leaving, with the doors open for anyone to get off. He even marched them back down the mountain afterwards.
What this show manages to absolutely nail though is how the law is not always black and white or as straightforward as it seems. These sort of conversations are open for debate about how the law can be interpreted in various different ways, rather than just simple right and wrong debates.
Similarly, hearing Myeong-Seok tell Min-Woo “giving rewards and punishments to who’s right and who’s wrong is not how I work” is a really nice perspective, especially when he brings up that he knew Min-Woo was the one who spread those rumours in the first place. It’s a firm, quick put-down that completely changes Min-Woo’s perspective.
After all, Min-Woo could very easily have lost his job for that outburst. Interestingly though, this could also pave way for a redemptive arc to transpire now.
Ultimately, Extraordinary Attorney Woo continues to deliver the goods with another really solid episode. Roll on tomorrow’s follow-up!
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|